Sometimes my kidney journey has been driven and intense. Kidneys have a life and death quality, as does racial justice, and my give, my path, is about the intersection of those. I’ve written in earlier posts about the most joyful and (surprisingly) hardest aspects of my kidney transplant (donation) surgery of December 16.
But Gloria’s and my story also has a lighter, less intense side. That side got brought out by Carol Hanner, a journalist for Wake Forest Magazine (Wake Forest, a liberal arts university in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is my alma mater). Carol interviewed me and Gloria a few weeks ago via Zoom. That was fun! Carol’s full article is called “A Sacred Nudge” and can be read here. Below is Gloria’s and my favorite excerpt.
Carol/Wake Forest: What was it like when you first met each other?
Gloria: We connected. I went over to Alison’s house, and she had a ping pong table sitting there, and I love to play ping pong. I thought I was really good at it. Right. We had fun. We sat, we talked, and we ended up playing ping pong, and she beat the socks off of me. I’m very competitive. I’m not used to getting beaten. She didn’t look to me, being white and kind of not athletic, that she could beat me. It was, like, what?
Alison: That was a happy day. When I opened the door and I greeted Gloria, I’d already given myself to her, because God had directed me. As time went by and we chatted about that ping pong thing, I was, like, “OK, so you thought you could take me because I’m just this skinny white girl.” I was a tennis player in high school, and mostly I’m a runner. The big danger here, though, is that once Gloria gets her kidney and her full strength, she might beat me at ping pong, then I might regret this whole thing.
[You know I was kidding there, right?]
General update: I am in fine fettle, back to my normal life at six plus weeks plus after surgery. But Gloria is still waiting to receive a healthy kidney. Because she and I are not a tissue match, we’re in the paired exchange program. That means the donor (me) gives her kidney, via the National Kidney Registry, to someone who is a match, and Gloria is thus owed a kidney through that registry that’s a match for her. In this paired donation program, last year 60% of people in Gloria’s shoes received their kidney within 45 days of their donor’s transplant surgery — in our case, December 16th. We have passed 45 days with no kidney yet for Gloria. We wish we were in that 60%.